Showing posts with the label backup

Pogoplug - an easy NAS from your USB disks

Have a few external USB disks laying around you'd like to make them available to everyone in the house without leaving your computer on all the time? It's easy!

You need a NAS server, instead of abusing your computer as such, and give people rights to share files, place backups, create photo albums and so on. The NAS server manages your existing USB disks and handles access control. Pogoplug has a small cute (Pink! So the wife factor approves too) box for $130 with a 1 GB network port and room for 2 USB disks. It integrates with facebook, twitter and myspace too, so you can easily share photos or music if you like or choose not to. ;) Apple Mac users will also like the ability to backup iTunes and iPhoto libraries and get shared access to them. The whole thing is managed thru your browser. And, of course, Linux works too. The only thing I miss is some form of access control, security or encryption, but the specs don't mention anything. Personally, I'm gonna go with the …

Nokia NbuExplorer

When my N73 (S60 Symbian smart phone) crashed, I lost the ability to copy contents over to my new phone. I solved the immediate needs by mailing my most frequently accessed friends using Gmail. But I thought I could resync my new work phone with Google Contacts again using Google Sync. Helas, the Nokia 6500 Classic is not supported even though it supports SyncML. :(
However, I still have a recent backup of my N73 on the SD card (created backups monthly) and a colleague mentioned I should give Nokia NbuExplorer a try... :) Cool! Will do! Or convert them using the ABCNBU utility.

What have we learned from all this?!? No matter how inconvenient and bloatware and terrible Nokia OTI aka PC Suite is, it is worth trying to strip it down to the bare minimum so you can make regular backups of your contacts... because you never know when you'll really need that!

Mobile phone broken

At LIEF festival, my phone fell and while the batteries were already empty at 4pm, the phone hasn't come back up online since. :( RIP I guess. It's a 3 year old Nokia N73. I had been looking at a replacement for while but haven't found one that really tips the scales. I like Symbian OS phone for their versatility and usability, although they are usually s l o w. The CPU is underpowered to make it cheaper and/or last longer on one charge. So... I really wanted to try a Google Android phone, just because I can, however they suck so far. Ugly. Bricks. Needless to say, I am running from my backup phone the ancient Nokia 6230 - and bearing with it for now. My work (KPN) might give me a decent upgrader but I still want an Android.

Lucky for me, my brother from another mother MrVanes has the same wishes, desires and longings - gadget-wise that is. ;)

Slashdot: Amazon EC2/S3 Not PCI Level 1 Compliant

It's on Slashdot so it's been scrutinized by 100000 geeks already: Amazon Confirms its EC2/S3 is Not PCI Level 1 Compliant.

Not a big deal for many, but it means your (credit card) data is safe during processing or after, in storage. There goes my plan to backup all my data onto the cheap cloud computing platform. I'll have to search for a more secure alternative.

Sync Google Contacts with your Nokia N-Series

Forgot to blog about this earlier, but I don't backup my mobile phone's address book anymore. Instead, I sync it with Google Contacts. That way I always have a backup handy. And I get to edit the addresses, names and numbers on the web where I can also add an Email address easily (vs on the phone). Now I have everyone's phone number on the web and their email address on my phone. Cool!

Oh and Google has support for *way* more devices! Check for yours...

Google Android for netbooks - FAQ

Martin pointed me a while ago to people who've been getting netbooks (i.e. EEE PC, InspireOne, Wind, etc) running on Google's Android OS. It's a Linux core, so being able to run on the hardware Linux already runs on is not that big a deal.

However, their work indicated Google seems (it might) target netbooks actively, instead of just mobile phones. That is very interesting, especially seen in the light of recent developments in Server Based Computing (SBC), cloud computing, online storage and backup, Software as a Service, Google Chrome, Google Apps and so on. It suddenly really makes sense to have a versatile OS ready for as many platforms as you can fit!

Check out the FAQ about those Android netbooks.

Protect your data with self-correcting code

This guy is a my kind of hero. Smart, savvy, open and helpful. He is the guy who downloaded the entire wikipedia, so he could browse it offline too. :) And he surprised everyone with the facts that wikipedia is only 2-3 GB in size and can be imported in minutes in your local copy for personal pleasure (vs. day-long imports in MySQL)...
But he also devised a way to protect his imported data from data corruption. Despite ubiquitous storage in the form of CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray, USB keys, USB disks and RAID arrays, one single bad block or magnetic pulse or scratch can still cause read errors in your precious backup and make you loose that one important file just when it need it badly (Murphy's Law).
Thanassis used a very common error-correcting Reed-Solomon code to add 32 bytes of redundancy to every 233 bytes of data, resulting in 255 bytes shielded against 16 failures! His code works on most Intel x86 operating systems (Linux, Free/Net/OpenBSD, Windows(Cygwin/MinGW) and is easy to use. …

Optical storage 1TB stored on standard DVD

Heavy nerd alert!
Researchers have stored 1TB stored in three dimensions on a standard format DVD disk (120 mm). They put 2 molecules in a layer substrate called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). One molecule referred to as a dye precursor (DP) and another light sensitive photoacid generator (PAG) molecule. When energy (light) strikes the PAG, it breaks down and releases an acid. The acid converts DP molecule to Rhodamine 700, which is colored and fluoresces strongly. Hence, it can be detected in UV light. This way they were able to make dots 5 microns apart. That's small enough to store about 5 GB per layer. Creating several layers, they could store about 1000 GB in 20 layers. Improving the technology, they hope to be able to store one Blu-ray disk per layer, yielding room for 5000 GB per disk!
/me is seriously impressed and psyched

Safegarding your data with Parchive

Here is an interesting read for making your DVD backups more reliable and protected from some corruption or aging...
In Safegarding your data with Parchive, Mike West, describes a similar approach to providing some self-repair capabilities to your backups as newsgroups users have been doing for years. He uses parchive to create a redundant CRC .par file of his (backuped files and directories on) DVD, so that - in case of read errors or lost information - he can repair the damaged files. You can use isobuster to read damaged CDs/DVDs and then recover the lost data using the .par files you have for each directory or file. Cool!

Mozy Online Backup: Simple, Automatic, Secure

Read a rumor on TheRegister that EMC was buying online backup start-up Mozy. They seem to have a pretty nice offering! Free 2 GB online backup or $4.95/mo for a better, unlimited service. And Pro for even bigger accounts... ;)

File Synchronization with Unison on Windows and Linux

Need to keep your files in sync between say your laptop and desktop? Or perhaps you have a file repository somewhere on Internet, secure storage, and wants to sync your important files from your desktop and laptop with that location?
File Synchronization with Unison is worth reading! It is a program similar to rsync with a bit of versioning thrown in. It can even merge different files, if you tell it how. Configuration is fairly simple and the article contains good explainations and samples... Binaries can be obtained from the Unison site.

AptonCD - Create a backup of all the packages you have installed using apt-get

If you run Debian or (K)Ubuntu as your desktop OS, and there are more and more of you these days, you'll be needing this!
AptonCD creates a one-click way to backup (and restore) all the applications you've installed using apt-get. You start it, choose backup, review the list you're given and make final additions or modifcations, choose whether you want a CD or DVD image and wait. Ruthless, open source software is simply ruthless! Imagine what you could earn if you programmed this for Windows and charged $10 or so... sjeez

How to make a cheap backup solution for home use

There is a lot of buzz around the same problem I ran into a few months ago: how do you create a cheap, easy to use, big backup solution for home use? We all have tons of mp3s, digital photos, papers, letters, Email and so on. Hard disks are cheap but combining 4 in the average PC case and configuring it, is still a bit dodgy - to say the least. Problem is mainly that there are too many solutions. Too many choices is just as hard as none.
I found a very similar discussion on this topic on Slashdot. It contains several very, *very* good ideas, suggestions, set-ups and links. It talks sizes, brands, drivers, disks and everything!
Please read this post, this thread and this discussion about how to set-up a cheap backup solution for home use using whatever you have or by buying some extra stuff.
For RAID controller reviews, check Tom's Hardware Guide here and here.

IBM expert warns of short life span for burned CDs

Kurt Gerecke, a physicist and storage expert at IBM Deutschland, said in an interview on InfoWorld: "Unlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD."
This danger has been presented several times before, I believe. Especially rewritable mediums are less stable. This goes for both CD and DVD disks. The good old tape backup is still the best archive solution (or optical WORMs), but a good tape backup setup will set you back quite a bit. A quality system using DLT or LTO tapes costs €2000-4000! That's one tape. For a robot auto-loader, that switches between 6 tapes for a complete archiving solution with little or manual tasks you can expect to pay €5000+ (incl tapes). However, it's that or re-image your CDs/DVDs every other year.

The Software-RAID HOWTO: Hardware issues

Petra complained today that her disks were overflowing (read: I really must get the backup system operational!). So I dove into Linux, RAID and LVM once more... Minor set back... :(
I knew I had to had erase my previously made cool 733GB LVM storage setup. You first have to create RAID partitions on the hard disks you want to use. Then you need to create a RAID configuration using these hard disks and only then do you create data partitions that users write data onto. However the Linux Documentation Project (TLDP) noted explicitely that you should not use both an IDE Master and Slave device from the same bus in your RAID setup! If the Master device fails, the entire bus will likely fail, causing your RAID setup to fail because suddenly two disks simultaneously fail. That is the one thing a RAID system cannot handle. So what now...?
The TLDP advises you to buy a hardware IDE RAID controller. They are only $80... well Tweakers' Pricewatch showed me that recommended Linux compatible…

Winterstorms move Europe into dark ages

After a major storm moved down over England and into Holland/Germany, it now seems the storm(s) have caused drastic snowfall and strong winds in all of Europe. We had 850km of traffic piled up on Friday evening. Many people got stuck on the highways for hours and couldn't go forward nor backward. Police, Red Cross and Army handed out blankets and water. Many had to spend the night in their cars too.
So when people strarted taking the trains after work, an accident caused Utrecht Central, the backbone and pivot of *all* railroad tracks here in Holland caused chaos on the trains too. Trains were backup leading to Utrecht. All go-arounds also got backup as more and more accidents occured near major train stations and short trips suddenly took *hours*, literally. I went from Eindhoven to Assen. It normally takes 2,5 hours. This time it took me 10 hours! I left at 5pm (17:00) and arrived at 230am (02:30). UNBELIEVABLE!
But Europe had major snow troubles. (Article in Dutch, though).

Manly weekend

It was a manly weekend. First, we got up early to finish the last chores around the house with the help of Petra's parents. I hated it, absolutely no energy, but it had to be done. Then it is good to have some help around who just keep working, despite your whining, and force you to accept defeat and help them in turn. :)
On Sunday afternoon, finally, it was time to unpack my goodies from Informatique: an MSI K8T Neo2-F V2 mobo, 512 MB RAM, three (!) 250 GB Hitachi harddisks and mounting brackets, and get busy with my good old Tower of Power and a Debian Sarge netinstall CD. I emptied the big tower except for the 8GB Quantum Fireball SE drive to boot from, put the three 250 GB hard disks in the 5.25" slots, hooked it all up to the mobo and installed Debian over the net. So cool to see it churning along. ;) Then, I paritioned the boot drive with a 512 MB swap partition, a 2 GB /home partition and a 5.9 GB root partition. The three drive were defined as LVM partitions, but not …


Say, hypothetically speaking, you're a brilliant programmer who cranks out fully working application in no time. By now you have roughly a terabyte in complete, working source codes as well as binary executables for at least 15 different platforms.
Or you are a well-known celebrity or nature photographer with a medium format analog camera plus a 25Mpx digital back and a super high-resolution scanner. In other words, you have terabytes of critical portfolio data on your PC.
In both of these scenarios, how do you backup your data easily and reliably? Tapes are arcane and cumbersome. CDs are too small. DVDs are too small. Bluray DVD is still too expensive and too small. Harddisks are cheap. But SAN hardware is way too expensive for consumers. A NAS is for Windows (yuck) only. RAID is fine but how do you tell a photographer about LVM volumes, partitions and system groups...? That's right, you don't!
What you do is tell them about MogileFS! MogileFS is an open source file syste…

Allway Sync: Free File Synchronization

Allway Sync! It is a Free File Synchronization, Backup, Data Replication, PC Sync Software, Freeware, File Sync, Data Synchronization Software!
You have a USB key? Isn't it a pain to have to manually copy and drag&drop stuff onto of from it? Sure it is! So you should te freeware Allway Sync!

SLAX Linux Live

Looking to put your old Pentium PC or PII to good use? Why not turn it into a firewall, mail server and virus checker. Or maybe also backup station by reusing that old 2x or 4x CD burner to auto burn important data every night onto a CD-RW? Makes sense, huh?! Of course!
SLAX Linux Live is a minimum bootable Linux installation that runs directly from CD. So no hard disk required! Cool! Based on Slackware it features most necessary things and that's all. Config a shell, mail server, firewall, ClamAV and SpamAssassin and you're set! :respect: